Presenting Symptoms


Differential diagnosis

A cough is a reflex action that clears the airway of mucus and irritants such as smoke and dust. However, coughs can be pathological if they do not resolve within a short period or rather if they become persistent (Weinberger & Lockshin, 2017). The differential diagnosis for coughs include Respiratory tract infections such as laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease due to throat irritation by the stomach acid, and side effects of antihypertensive medications particularly the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. This essay will focus on pneumonia.

Presenting Symptoms

The presenting symptoms of pneumonia include Sharp chest pain when the client coughs or breathes deeply, a cough which may be productive or non-productive depending on the type of pneumonia. A productive cough is indicative of bacterial pneumonia, while a non-productive cough is indicative of viral pneumonia (Cilloniz et al., 2016). Fatigue is a common symptom. Fever and sweating or chills are also present. Moreover, there is shortness of breath while the client is doing daily activities or even at rest.

Diagnostic testing 

The diagnosis of pneumonia starts by auscultation of the chest to assess the lung sounds. Crackling or bubbling sounds are indicative of pneumonia. The various diagnostic tests done are sputum test and pleural fluid culture to confirm the causative organism. Sputum is corrected after a deep cough. A chest X-ray is done to determine the extent and location of the infection. A computed tomography scan can also be done to produce a more detailed image of the lungs.


The treatment of pneumonia aims at curing the infection and preventing complications. The medications used depend on the causative organism of pneumonia. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. Viral pneumonia is treated by using antiviral, while fungal pneumonia is treated by antifungal (Waterer, 2016). Pain medications such as acetaminophen are also administered along with the other medications to relieve fevers.


Cilloniz, C., Martinn-Loeches, I., Garcia-Vidal, C., San Jose, A., & Torres, A. (2016). Microbial aetiology of pneumonia: Epidemiology, diagnosis and resistance patterns. International journal of molecular sciences, 17(12), 2120.

Waterer, G. W. (2016, December). Community-acquired pneumonia: a global perspective. In Seminars in respiratory and critical care medicine (Vol. 37, No. 06, pp. 799-805). Thieme Medical Publishers.

Weinberger, M., & Lockshin, B. (2017). When is cough functional, and how should it be treated? Breathe, 13 (1), 22-30.